An elderly man was killed when a car carrying illegal drugs went through a red light and collided with his vehicle, Vista police said.

Sgt. Ken Crossman said the accident occurred at 5:29 p.m. Sunday when police attempted to stop a southbound Mercedes-Benz with a defective taillight on Escondido Avenue in Vista. Crossman said the driver, Manuel Christopher Moran, 32, an unemployed Vista man, made a quick U-turn and headed north instead of heeding police.

Crossman said Moran drove at about 40 m.p.h. through a red traffic signal, striking a car driven by Elwood James Fletcher, 74, who was westbound at the South Santa Fe Avenue intersection. Fletcher was pronounced dead at the scene.

Two other cars crashed into the vehicles, and the drivers were taken to Tri-City Hospital in Oceanside, where they were treated and released, Crossman said.


Police said they saw Moran throw something under his car and flee. Police chased him on foot, but Moran was caught by a civilian who joined in the chase, Crossman said. He said about 470 grams of methamphetamine where found under Moran’s car.

Moran was taken to County Jail in Vista, where he was being held on suspicion of murder, felony drunken driving, hit-and-run driving and possessing illegal drugs.

A passenger in the Mercedes, Joe Quiros, 32, a transient, who was trapped in the car, was arrested at the crash scene and taken to County Jail, where he was being held on suspicion of two narcotics-related violations, Crossman said.